Unprompted Musings

Shopping money credit card online

Now that we’re done stuffing our faces, it’s time to empty our wallets. I just read that Black Friday is a scam, in a variety of ways, including “one time” deals that go on for weeks along with inferior products marked down. I’m glad I am not caught up in the post-Thanksgiving madness, not that I’m immune from impulse buys. I ordered a coloring book and pencils from Target because I caught the coloring bug at my daughter’s house. Chanukah gifts were bought months ago, so no worries there.

Did you succumb to the pressure to spend money on Friday? Did you brave the crowds to stand in a long line in order to be given the “privilege” of owning yet another thing? Or maybe you simply shopped online. That’s what I usually do now. I can’t even imagine dealing with a horde of maniacal shoppers fighting over the ”last” whatever.

I used to waste a lot more money on useless garbage, mostly clothes and shoes. I had this idea that if only I could find the perfect outfit, I would attract the perfect man. This notion is marketed to girls from Day One. You are not good enough the way you are. You will never find love unless you join a gym, buy sexier clothing, change your hairstyle, wear better makeup, etc. I don’t know what is marketed to men. Cars, perhaps? Certainly the perfect woman is not going to sleep with you unless you upgrade your sled…

But we’re also supposed to save millions for retirement. That’s another theme ~ we are not using the correct financial planning tools and should spend money to save it better. Also, if we would only give up our Starbucks habit, that $5 per day will turn into $5M by some magical math. But what about all the ads showing happy people drinking foamy lattes? Are we supposed to sit at home, friendless and sad, while everyone else is bonding over caffeinated beverages? Also, what if Mr. Right has just driven his new shiny car to the coffee shop and is waiting for me to show up in my cute new clothes?

It’s all designed to provoke anxiety in us, which will be relieved only after we spend money on something. But the anxiety isn’t relieved, so we spend more. Yet no matter how many new sparkly things we buy, the ads hint that it is not enough. We are still not there, wherever there is, existing in a state of bliss, surrounded by beautiful things and people who love us because we bought the right stuff.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

PCF14: Island Salsa

rainbow dance planets kaleidoscope

Nobody knows what happened here…
What are these photos on my phone?
I doubt I will return next year.

Too much sun plus too much beer—
Temptation won’t leave me alone.
Nobody knows what happened here.

Island salsa on the pier?
Normally past my comfort zone…
Maybe I could return next year.

Inhibitions tend to disappear;
Common sense has also flown.
Nobody knows what happened here.

I blame it on the atmosphere;
I blame it on your musk cologne—
I hope you will return next year.

Your seductive grin is so sincere
I think I need a chaperone—
Nobody knows what happened here.
Hell yeah, I will return next year!

~*~

Image from Pixabay. Poetry form is villanelle.

Welcome to my Friday afternoon paint chip prompt. There are other paint chip prompts out there, but they’re very precise in what they ask for. Mine is open ~ write a poem, a story, a memory, whatever you like. Take your inspiration this week from Valspar’s “island salsa” and/or “temptation.” Tag your post Paint Chip Friday, or PCF, if you wish. Prompt will continue until December 31.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Twice Upon a Yesterday [repost]

Red umbrella

[Written in 2017.]

[Warning: this post will contain extreme spoilers for the above 1998 movie, aka The Man with Rain in His Shoes and If Only, depending on the country.]

When I noticed that Prime was showing Twice Upon a Yesterday starring Lena Headey from Game of Thrones, I decided to watch it even though the storyline didn’t appeal to me that much. I generally don’t go for rom-coms with science fiction elements, but ever since I finished my GOT binge this summer and have been waiting for S8 like everyone else, I’ve been missing Queen Cersei. I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see Lena.

TUAY has an interesting take on the concept of do-overs with certain things amenable to change, while others seem inevitable, even if they are reached via an alternate path. Of course, we are not treated to every possible universe in TUAY, only two, and teased with a third at the end. In U1, Victor cheats on Sylvia, confesses, and she dumps him. He tries to win her back before she marries someone else, telling her what an idiot he was, how much he loves her, etc., but he fails at this and ends up in a bar where he’s given a red umbrella. The umbrella is apparently a key to unlock time travel. Victor next encounters two dustmen who give him the chance to do-over his confession, which he does, lying about his affair instead.

In U2, Sylvia is happy because she doesn’t know Victor cheated on her. Victor hurts his cheatee (why isn’t this a word?) by coldly dumping her, but that’s fine ~ we’re supposed to be rooting for the Victor/Sylvia romance. Victor is happy once she’s gone and all is well. Except… Sylvia ends up meeting her lost fiancé from U1 anyway. They still fall for each other. Would this happen in every universe? Well, we don’t know. So far, we have two for two. Now, Sylvia cheats on Victor while he remains faithful. Sylvia leaves Victor and they both end up with new loves, but Sylvia’s doesn’t work out and she wants Victor back. She goes a bit insane too.

The movie ends with Sylvia coming into possession of the red umbrella and getting her chance at a do-over. At which point will this one begin? How will things work out in U3 now that Victor seems very much in love with the bookstore girl?

Normally, I wouldn’t have enjoyed such a goofy movie, but something really held my attention here and it wasn’t only Lena’s fine acting. Everyone is fab in this film, and the fantastical plot is somehow more intriguing than it seems at first glance. I guess we’ve all indulged in these what-if scenarios, haven’t we? What if I could go back in time and do something over? Where would I start? What would I change?

It’s a fun and hopefully harmless waste of time, ultimately pointless, like fantasizing how to spend our lottery winnings.

~*~

Image from Pinterest.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin pie


I’m visiting my daughter Diane and her husband Sam up in NorCal this week. It’s been my tradition for several years now to spend the holiday with them. Thanksgiving itself has never been a huge deal to me, and I am not a fan of overeating, but I am thankful we can take off work and be together.

My mom used to make traditional foods for Thanksgiving, though our gatherings were on the small side ~ usually just the three of us plus my dad’s parents. When I had my own family, Thanksgiving was stressful, for various reasons, and we often skipped the gluttony in favor of going to the zoo. Due to this, my girls don’t care that much about the holiday either. It’s sandwiched between the Jewish new year and Chanukah, which are bigger deals to us.

To me, the most important thing about any holiday is the chance to spend time with my girls and their families. Food is secondary and I am not hung up on any particular item. Since we all love pumpkin pie, that makes an appearance, and we already dove into the huge and delicious Costco pie my daughter bought. We had the pre-Thanksgiving pizza on Tuesday with leftovers for lunch yesterday. For a couple years now, we’ve also had baked brie with jam in a pastry crust, which we nommed up last night. Today I think my daughter and I will have macaroni and cheese with butternut squash for our festive meal. (Sam is going to his parents’ house for a couple hours.) I’m looking forward to lox and bagels for brunch. There’s still a lot of pie left too, and we bought emergency chocolate chip cookie dough as well. Besides eating, we’ve been playing board games, watching movies, taking the doggos for walks, and generally enjoying our time together.

I’m leaving tomorrow night and hope my flight back goes as smoothly as the one up. My other daughter Sharon is at her home in Los Angeles with her hubby and kids, and I’ll see them Sunday for the first night of Chanukah. I am looking forward to that, since it will be the first time I’ve lit candles with my grands. Not sure if we’ll have latkes or what, but everything my daughter cooks is fab.

My most memorable Thanksgiving (so far) is 2016. I told my daughters to make plans without me because I’d just reignited a relationship with a new man after he had apologized for being a jerk in October. We’d made plans to spend Thanksgiving Day together at his place and then take a train trip up to Santa Barbara, but on Tuesday he texted me and canceled with no explanation. I was extremely upset, to say the least. First, I had developed serious feelings for him. Second, I hated myself for being so stupid to trust him after he treated me badly a month earlier. Third, I was raging mad that men had been so rotten to me all along, and this was the last straw. I basically felt worthless because I had truly believed I would find love post-divorce, and my self-image was based on the dream of being part of a couple again. I began to spiral down into a very dark place.

When Sharon learned that jerko had dumped me and I was alone, she changed her plans and drove down from LA to spend the day with me (it was too late for Diane to fly down from NorCal). Sharon was vegan then, so we picked up a feast from Native Foods and nommed up meatless loaf and potatoes and veggies. It was pretty terrible, but the important thing was that Sharon refused to let me be alone when I was so sad. I already knew my daughters were awesome, of course, but now I understood in a concrete way how much they loved me.

This didn’t change my life instantly; I spent 2017 slipping further into depression. But on the worst days, thinking about my girls was a source of comfort and sometimes all I had to keep me on this side of the line. Friends were a comfort as well. I began to really understand, for the first time, that I had a lot of love in my life, just not the romantic kind, and I started to feel grateful for the good things instead of focusing on the one thing I didn’t have.

Around mid-2018, the depression lifted and I felt reborn. I still have bad times, but they last hours, not months, and I can much more easily come back from the edge by simply reminding myself of how Sharon saved me in 2016 and how good my girls have been to me ever since. I don’t think it’s trite to say I am profoundly thankful for my wonderful daughters, their husbands, my grands, my friends, my job, my relatively good health at age 60, and of course the love of my life, Mr. G.

Gatsby cat

Happy Thanksgiving!

~*~

Images are mine. Written for Throwback Thursday.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Seasonal Coloring

Lilac field sunrise


Kaleidoscopic dreams
Swirl down to the sea–
Violet, sunflower, teal;
Love and lust and need
Are subsumed endlessly
In a relentless stream.


Dew-frosted leaves
Gift us a living evergreen
Reminder of impermanency.
As love’s summer heat
Fades to autumn mystique,
We watch our breath escape,
Our illusions dissipate,
And desperately lock down our dreams.


In a bleak November
Across frozen skies,
Comes the dragon rising
Through silvered mists of time.
His mighty wings rumble
Past blackened branches,
Faintly illuminated
By tear-streaked moonlight.


Rain-kissed blossoms,
Wake with pink petals unfurled,
Craving a taste of the world.
Memories fade,
What-ifs begin to play,
And bountiful gold floods the morning.

~*~

Happy Thanksgiving!

Poetry form: free verse (curated from tweets). Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Empty

colorful smoke drift

Steamy water, first too hot,
Turns to silken bliss;
Wary skin begins to acclimate,
Bones sigh and soften,
Aches massaged away.
Floating on my back,
Gentle waves lapping,
I watch the clouds shift,
Shaping into rabbits,
Mutating into birds,
Wisps of fluff like letters;
My eyes close before
I decipher any message.
Water covers my ears;
I hear rhythmic sloshing,
The heartbeat of the earth.
I’m cradled in her embrace,
Lulled into wooziness,
Cocooned by womb warmth…
Thoughts dissolve,
Needs dissipate,
Desires diminish,
Stress slips below the surface.
Suspended weightless,
Body and mind merge,
Submerge…
Empty of words.

~*~

Image from Pixabay. Poetry form is free verse.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.



Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes… [repost]

That Girl

I’ve been enjoying reruns on Prime and am just starting the second season of That Girl. A good friend bought S5 for me as a gift and watching some of those motivated me to start over at the beginning. Okay, let’s discuss…

First, we’ll address the theme song (music only until S5 when lyrics are introduced), which I see via Google is not super popular. I guess people hate happy, sappy lists. Does this mean “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music is hated now too? Bye cream-colored ponies, off you go. We’re tossing the crisp apple strudel right in the trash. What the hell is wrong with lists of nice things? Does every piece of music have to be dark and dystopian with singularity death robots clawing out our livers? Eff that. We can have nice lists!

Second, That Girl is a nice show about nice people, who mostly do nice things and end up getting into very mild predicaments. You’re thinking omgawwwd boring. You know what I’m bored with? Criminals, jerks, liars, druggies, drunks, narcissists, wackos, and psychopaths. But enough about men from dating sites already, eh? Pffft.

Sometimes it’s just darned good fun to watch a show about normal people negotiating the quotidian. Kind of like Seinfeld, in a way… many of TG’s eps are also about “nothing” or nothing more than the minutiae of daily life gone awry via misunderstandings or miscommunications. This was prior to texting and email, so people have to talk to each other face to face to work things out. This generally resolves an issue quickly rather than our current method of trying to “text it out,” which further mires us in the muck of miscomm. Yes, I realize it’s fictional.

Third, there’s a refreshing absence of sex, drugs, and violence. I’m no prude, but I’m just tired of the emphasis on those three things in entertainment. Once they’re introduced, they tend to dominate the script. Ann and Don are steadily dating, but we haven’t seen them in bed. Good. I don’t want to; it’s uninteresting to me. In one of these early eps, they wade in a stream while picnicking and she remarks that it’s the first time she’s seen his ankles. Why? Because they haven’t slept together or because he has sex in his socks or what? The questions crossed my mind, briefly, and I’m happy not to know. There’s a mafia ep where the bad guys end up in a food fight then a fist fight but not a gun fight and it’s hilarious. Etc.

Fourth, surprisingly, these old TG eps offer many situations that are still currently relevant. How to maintain a close relationship with your parents when you move away and choose a different lifestyle. Can you conduct a professional relationship in the same office with someone with whom you’re romantically involved? The struggle of pursuing your low-paying dream while juggling two or more side gigs to make the rent. Etc.

Plus Marlo Thomas is funny. So are Ted Bessell, who plays her boyfriend, and Lew Parker, who plays her father. But many actors could have done these roles, imo, including Marlo’s. This is not to disparage the actors, who are certainly fine, but the writers should get the credit for the show. Always credit the writers! Check out that link… interesting.

K, I’m off for more teevee!

[Written in 2018.]

~*~

Image from That Girl.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Got Any Change?

Coins change pennies nickels dimes

For this Truthful Tuesday, PCGuyIV challenges us to discuss how our blogging has changed over time. Buckle up!

When I first began a blog, around 2004, it was simply something other writers were doing, so I followed along. I quickly became competitive and kept a close watch on my stats, posting lots of funny stuff along with edgy opinions and provocative questions to drive views and comments. I also encouraged trolls and jerks, instead of blocking them as I do now. It all came to a halt over what some old-time readers may recall as the ”Pit Bull War.” Not gonna rehash that!

I took a break for a while and then returned with a couple versions of silly, bland blogs, which focused on mild daily trivia. Then my mom got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2007 and I lost interest in the silly blogs. I began a private blog, inviting only a few trusted friends, to discuss my mom and my feelings about her illness. I ended that blog shortly after her death in April 2008.

I began seeing a married man in 2009 during my divorce and at first everything was great with that relationship. But by early 2010 it was off and on terrible, so I began this blog to cope with my feelings. Since I wasn’t anonymous, I didn’t talk about him directly, but posted bits of lyrics and poetry to fit my mood. I had no interest in engaging with other bloggers at that point.

I dumped the married guy in September 2011, after my divorce became final. I began to take more interest in blogging again over the next several years, mainly bitching about dating sites and angsting over novel writing. Over time, I deleted posts that were too stupid or sad and eventually found the WP daily word prompt. This connected me with other WP writers and I felt part of a community. After WP ended their prompt, several of us began our own, which has been fun and motivating.

This year, I decided to make a clean break from my blogging past, deleted all my old content and started fresh in April. Well, not totally fresh ~ I saved my favorite posts to repost, and the annoying Internet Archive has a pile of others (not a lot, but still). I ended a couple prompts, kept the Monday Peeve, and added Paint Chip Friday, which will run until December 31. I’ll probably begin a new prompt next year, and it will also have an end date.

Nowadays, I like to post original poetry and flash fiction, participate in a few prompts, and occasionally share a personal story. I don’t usually post photos only or share one-liners because I prefer my blog to be more writing-focused. Some of my readers have purchased my books for sale, and I am grateful for that. My blogging mindset has changed over the past few years from using a blog to sell other writing to showcasing some of my best writing right here.

I am thankful for all my readers. You may note that I have a very low number of followers compared to others in the community. That’s because I’ve recently begun to delete any follower who isn’t interested in engagement ~ my count recently went from 2700 to 300! I have no patience for those marketing types or anyone who simply wants a follow-back without earning it. Thus, my follower count is actually more accurate. Nyah!

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Back in the Bottle [repost]

IDOJ

[Written in 2018.]

On a crazy whim, I purchased the entire I Dream of Jeannie series. But I didn’t finish watching every episode because it was too heartbreaking. My memory of the show from when I was a teen had categorized it as witty and adorable, and this idea was destroyed by my “mature” perspective. The writing was clichéd (even for the time), the jokes unfunny, the bloopers ubiquitous, and the constant obsession with marriage ridiculous and boring.

I made a similar mistake recently by clicking Match Game on Prime. I used to love watching that after school! Biiig mistake. My god, those guest “stars” were a bunch of drunken idiots, which was freakin’ hilarious to 14 year old me, but now? Not so much.

Gotta resist Memory Lane strolls in so many of their tempting forms. An evening sorting through old photos the other week caused me to spiral into a mild depression for days. Music doesn’t seem to have the same effect, or if it does, it’s small in comparison… an hour or two, certainly not a day or more.

In future bloggery, we’ll discuss an old TV show that has stayed surprisingly good over time with storylines relevant to today! Care to speculate which show I have in mind?

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Genie.

Image credit to I Dream Of Jeannie dot com.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Otter Smile

Sherman Gardens otter

Saturday I joined a meetup group for lunch at Sherman Library and Gardens, which is a peaceful little oasis right near me. Until recently, I hadn’t known it existed, so this was a lovely surprise. I must have passed it a thousand times over the past 25 years on the Pacific Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, but I can be oblivious. Anyway, I arrived early and parking was a breeze ~ you won’t hear me saying that very often! I found a spot right on the street, but they have a lot in back also. The entrance fee was a modest five bucks, though the lunch menu was a bit pricey. Everything was delicious though, and it’s all farm to table, so the produce was super-fresh and bursting with flavor. I had the “Shermie salad,” which was wonderful.

Shermie salad

I walked around before and after lunch, relaxing in the lush, green atmosphere. Everything was so well laid out and pretty. A bunch of cute little girls were running around in princess dresses for a birthday party, which added to the charm. There was a sweet gift shop and I had fun browsing for a few minutes. I got excited when I saw the otter statue (image at top of post) and knew immediately it would be my smile for the week!

PS: I didn’t visit the library. Next time!

~*~

Images are mine from Sherman Gardens.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.